as part of an upcoming summer long project we are doing with showroom mpls, we got the chance to interview fashion designer and custom dress maker sonelle of sonelle couture. we had the best conversation about her fashion journey and style inspiration. enjoy !
where did your background in fashion begin? i learned to sew when i was 12 or 13 and went on from there. i then studied fashion design at the university of minnesota and graduated in 2006.
what do you enjoy most about your profession? i love doing bridal expos, leather bridal gowns, and custom work and alterations.
how do you advertise your business? i’ve found that word of mouth is most successful for promoting my work.
where do you find inspiration? i’ll play off other designers, look through fashion magazines, or use nature, music videos, and old movies as inspiration.
what is fashion to you? fashion is a way of expressing yourself, expressing your personality, an art form, and it can change depending on your mood.
who are your style icons? carolina herrera, karl lagerfeld, ellie saab, and sometimes chanel when they are not overboard with the jewelry.
how would you describe your style? old hollywood influenced.
what is your go-to look? i love pencil skirts; i think they look good on everyone. i also love jeans, specifically pencil jeans, and a jacket for a more casual look.
do you prefer retail or custom work? i prefer custom work because i like the personal aspect and being a part of someone’s important event.
what bumps in the road have you faced in this industry? branding and marketing is especially hard for me, and making a living off of something you love doing can also be difficult.
how long does it take you to create a piece? typically 10-16 hours for a normal piece, but bridal gowns take me much longer.
what advice would you give to young, aspiring designers? learn the business side of the career too, and work really hard.
what was fashion design school like? you need to go into it knowing how to sew. they teach you about different fabrics, the structure of fabrics, how to recognize different fabrics, and how clothing is made. they teach you the difference between natural fibers and man made fibers and how to keep safety in mind when choosing fabric.
what was your favorite class? my favorite class was my “fashion illustration” class because i love to draw; the final project was a fashion show.
how has the industry developed since the time you were in school? the use of technology within this industry has really increased. for example, when cameras in phones became more common, it made my work a lot easier. i was able to send sketches via text and could do more long distance communication.
how do you stay up to date on the latest trends? i look through magazines, watch fashion shows, stay tuned during fashion week, and observe the way people around me dress. i notice different trends in different geological areas too.
what have you noticed about fashion in the minneapolis area? people here dress casual, are more conservative when it comes to formal wear, and like everyday clothes with a little spice.
where do you like to shop when you don’t design your own clothes? i like to shop at banana republic and opitz. i will walk through the racks and feel for unique fabrics and colors.
how long have you been in showroom? two years, and i love it. everyone here is very supportive of each other.
sonelle’s istagram: @sonelle.couture
sonelle’s facebook: here
thank you sonelle for letting us interview you –
you are amazing.