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March 2014

Fashion Insiders:
The Designers
Photographs By: 
Peter Frank Edwards

Armed with talent and the determination to share their sartorial visions, these designers are making a name for themselves, creating clothing and accessories from bow ties and cummerbunds to handbags and shoes



(from left to right)

Alesya Opelt
Who: Founder and designer of Alesya Bags
What: A super stylish yet practical leather laptop bag that doubles as a purse (pictured on previous spread in the color “Hot Spot”)
Launched: 2010
Press: Real Simple, Today, and The Huffington Post
Up Next: Her fourth collection will be released in early fall 2014.
Goal: “For Alesya Bags to be carried by every woman with a frequent flyer number”
Sold: alesyabags.com and locally at Campo Marzio
 


Barbara Beach
Who: Children’s clothing designer
Launched: 2006
Known for: Beautiful, heirloom-quality clothing
Awards & Accolades: Charleston Fashion Week (CFW) 2010 Emerging Designer Competition: Southeast semifinalist and People’s Choice winner
Inspiration: “Children love a good story, and I try to tell stories through my designs, details being my favorite part.”
Press: Babiekins, Small, and Charleston Weddings magazines
Currently: In addition to fulfilling custom orders around the globe, she’s creating a selection of pieces for Spring/Summer 2014.
Sold: barbarabeachdesigns.com
 


Lindsey Carter
Who: Women’s ready-to-wear designer
Label: TROUBADOUR
Launched: 2010
Known For: Refined, feminine silhouettes and quirky prints, such as her dress (pictured on previous spread)
Awards & Accolades:CFW 2009 Emerging Designer Competition: Southeast finalist; named a “Designer to Watch” by WWD in 2010; named “Best Dressed” Southern tastemaker by Southern Living in 2013
Press: JILLE, E!News, Daily Candy, Charleston, Garden & Gun, and Matchbook
Up Next: Besides having just had twins in November (!), Lindsey is working on a large project with a national “lifestyle” retailer and opening a showroom/studio space at 1600 Meeting this month.
Sold: TROUBADOUR showroom, 1600 Meeting St., and boutiques in nine states, as well as in Kuwait, and online at NeimanMarcus.com and shop.troubadourclothing.com
 


K. Cooper Ray
Who: Designer of menswear apparel and accessories, such as his jacket, tie, and cummerbund pictured in the previous spread
Known for: The reversible bow tie and a cheeky spin on prepster chic he calls “Prep Neck”
His Start: Designing a line of bow ties in collaboration with Brooks Brothers
Label: Social Primer (SP)
Press: The GQ Eye, The Huffington Post, and Gilt.com’s “GiltMANual”
Why Charleston?: “The daily inspiration of the Charleston man. Whether South of Broad or North of Calhoun, I am giddy with the prospect of dressing this man. Classic dandy with a twist is what excites me as a designer.”
Up Next: Looking for a storefront in Charleston “to present the SP world unfiltered”
Sold: Brooks Brothers, specialty men’s shops around the U.S., and online at socialprimer.com
 


Heather Rose Johnson
Who: Designer, seamstress, and product developer who opened The Charleston Garment Manufactory (CGM), a custom-sewing workroom, in 2012
Expertise: Design development, pattern drafting, sample construction, and custom sewing
Education: BFA in fashion design/product development (Stephens College, 2005); instruction in couture sewing techniques (Paris American Academy)
Focus: “Slow fashion and creating a community of skilled seamstresses and designers to elevate the quality and the amount of locally made clothing and accessories”
Clients: One Love, Neve/Hawk, STATE, and Barbara Beach
Up Next: CGM is collaborating with designer Rachel Gordon to create the One Love Design House, a collective of artists and designers working together to create thoughtful sustainable products.
Learn More: chsgarmentmanufactory.com


Jamie Lin Snider
Who: Designer of JLINSNIDER womenswear and owner of JLINSNIDER boutique
Known for: Innovative, slightly avant-garde original designs for women as well as a well-curated selection of designer vintage for men and women
Launched: Label in 2008 and store in 2011
Awards & Accolades: Top-three finalist in CFW’s 2010 Emerging Designer Competition: Southeast; Charleston City Paper “Best Risk-taking Designer” 2011
Press: Las Vegas Weekly and 944, Charleston, Los Angeles, and New York magazines
Up Next: Check out her newest collection at her CFW runway show on March 18
Sold: JLINSNIDER, 539 King St. and online at jlinsnider.myshopify.com
 


Leigh Magar
Who: Renowned milliner who recently began designing women’s dresses and accessories made from hand-dyed or one-of-a-kind fabrics sourced locally and regionally
Labels: Magar Hatworks (launched 1994) & Madame Magar (women’s frocks and accessories, launched 2012)
Press: Martha Stewart Living, The New York Times, Food & Wine, Country Living, Garden & Gun, and Charleston Weddings
Current Project: As the artist-in-residence at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, South Carolina, Magar will be creating her “Mill Collection” in the gallery (the building’s a former cotton textile mill) through early May (visit 701cca.org).
Sold: Magar Hatworks, 57 Cannon St., where she also hosts workshops, tours, and teas by appointment; magarhatworks.com; Barneys; Isetan in Tokyo; and eBay.com’s Martha Stewart American Made


Rachel Gordon
Who: Founder and designer of the Boho-chic One Love Design, including bridal (the “ethereal” collection) and ready-to-wear dresses (the “elements” collection—pictured on previous spread), and owner of ONE boutique
Awards & Accolades: CFW 2008 Emerging Designer finalist; voted best clothing designer in the Charleston City Paper from 2011 to 2013
Press: Daily Front Row, Eco Bridal Guide Charleston, and Charleston Weddings
Up Next: Launching her online shop, onelovedesign.com, in June 2014 and the “love child” children’s collection in fall/winter 2014
Sold: ONE boutique, 478 King St., along with jewelry by Jen Bonoma of Birdsong Designs
 


Erin McCauley
Who: Codesigner of ladies shoes at Rowen Footwear
Her Start: Joined Rowen founder and lead designer Blake Vaigneur in 2011, the company’s second year
Styles: 15 per season—whether flats and pumps, booties and boots, or sandals, including “Georgia” in “ivory watersnake,” a new look for Spring 2014 (pictured on previous spread)
Big Win: 2012 Belk Southern Designer Showcase
Press: In Style, People Style Watch, Southern Living, Ladies Home Journal, and Redbook magazines
Best Part: “To see someone out living her life in something you designed is the most gratifying part of my job.”
Up Next: Working on developing a private label collection
Sold: At boutiques in 16 states plus D.C., including Copper Penny Shooz in Charleston; online at RowenFootwear.com, Belk.com, and SimplySoles.com

 

 




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Shot on location at Warehouse, 45 1/2 Spring Street; hair and makeup touch-ups by Deirdre Outlaw and Meghan Beeler

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