Meet Madyssen Hrlevich, the designer behind essen! She is a self-taught designer who will be showing her third collection at Omaha Fashion Week this August. Her SS18 collection will continue to tell the story that she began on the runway with her FW17 collection.
How did you get into fashion? Tell me a little about your background.
I developed an interest in a fashion career and showed my first collection in high school. It wasn't until my freshman year of college as a fashion merchandising major that began devoting more attention to my craft and ideas and it became so much more than just a creative outlet. It was then that I realized the importance of being able to conceptualize a collection and that quickly became my favorite part. The past two years of learning how to sew and figuring out how i want to pursue this new passion of mine has been a whirlwind, and I can't wait for more.
Describe your brand and the point of view you wish to convey. What category does your brand fall under?
This season, I have officially rebranded as “essen,” which came from a long creative battle between wanting to use my name and wanting a high end, timeless feel. I took sounds and characteristics from my name, Madyssen, and formed essen. The logo came from the idea of juxtaposing vulnerability and strength, which are two important themes within my work. As far as the aesthetics of my line, I create clothing that captures assertive feminine qualities, while maintaining an effortlessness. My first two collections feature elements of tailoring and timeless silhouettes and as a ready to wear women's wear designer I hope to maintain those qualities as i continue to grow within the industry.
What are your personal goals or goals for your brand?
As a designer, I hope to develop my brand and collections for opportunities throughout the country to display my work. I want people to get excited about something unexpected and I want to keep my audience guessing and involved with my growth.
Describe your favorite project or projects that you have worked on.
So far, my favorite project has been my FW17 collection. It was such a treat to be able to come up with a unique concept and have the omaha fashion community, along with others, respond so positively. Another aspect of working on that collection was the emotional connection I had to the concept, and every word embroidered throughout the line. Creating a line that was truly coming from the heart made every stitch in that collection truly come from the heart.
Tell me about the overarching ideas of your brand.
I always want to maintain an element of surprise, something to treat my audience with. I want to create wearable art that appeals to my demographic in a unique way that allows them to connect with essen and love what they are wearing.
Describe the specific category or customer your design for.
I design for the professional woman between the ages of 25-40. These women are looking for something with fashion forward elements that still maintains a timeless feel. They don't have a lot of time to spend on their wardrobe, so when I am planning my collections I like to find creative ways to incorporate both elements. This woman also takes a lot of pride in what she owns, so when love is poured into a garment, she can feel it.
What signature styles or silhouettes do you feature in your line?
I incorporate a signature tailored style into my collections, which creates a modern and timeless looks that are made to last.
How do you balance creativity and consistency in your work?
As a self-taught designer I am constantly challenging myself when I sew and while troubleshooting a garment. The creative aspects of troubleshooting often lead to a new technique I can incorporate throughout a collection I am working on. It often takes working on a project for me to figure out all the little things I am going to do to make the garment consistent with the rest of the collection and to me that’s the most fun. I am constantly pushing myself as a designer to avoid textbook methods and further my creativity.
What inspired your new collection and how are you interpreting that inspiration for your specific product categories?
The inspiration for my SS18 collection came from the idea of doing a series. My FW17 collection introduced a girl who is deeply saddened and heartbroken. In order to continue the series with my SS18 collection, I am going back in time and developing this character by portraying her imagination and dreams throughout the romanticized stages of falling in love. I am going to interpret her imagination by using minimal amounts of structure, pastel shades of blue, bright whites, and higher levels of innovation. You will see my signature tailored style through the incorporation of quilted cotton and a unique spin on my style with the use of chiffons and tulle. Things are going to get intergalactic and whimsical, my friends.