Thursday, April 14, 2011

Interview: Life as a Fashion Designer

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I've often fantasized about what life would be like if I were a fashion designer. It seems to be such a glamorous career. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes interview with a hot new designer. The industry is abuzz with fun and flirty fashionista Anne Fanganello of AnnaFesta Design (

Q. Hi Anne! Congrats on your recent award.  Can you share your background in the fashion industry?
A. Sure! Italy and Switzerland as a patternmaker for socialites and a seamstress in a sweatshop for leather and fur. I started right at the base of the ladder so I have knowledge of all steps in the process to create a beautiful garment. In high school and college I made costumes and worked in theaters. Nanette Lepore's right hand for 10 years (, and then COO of Zac Posen (

Q. Please tell us about your recent industry award.
A. AnnaFesta Design just won the People's Choice Award for The Best Clothing Design in Denver's Style awards. I was up against high end, haute couture A-mazing designers and still got the win. I am so proud that a plus size, curvy girl collection stood on equal footing with the others. Women's bodies are beautiful in every shape and size. Our runway show celebrated real women. We had 17 models from all different cultures and sizes rocking the spring/summer line. Afterwards, people flocked to the booth and bought up the styles. It was wonderful to see how we hit the runway successfully and it was not just for show but a size 20 girl could walk up and buy an item off of the rack and wear it to work or a party this week!

Q. What does fashion mean to you?
A. Fashion to me is primarily about the fit of a garment. Lots of clothing can look pretty but I like it when you feel pretty. A garment that makes you feel good adds to your confidence and happiness. I love it when someone puts on one of my dresses and looks in the mirror and breaks into a big smile. Fashion can boost confidence and enlighten your life as you flaunt what is special about your specific beauty.

Q. What are your fashion tips for plus size?
A. Wear your clothes to fit. Do not wear something too tight OR too loose. I see large girls wearing clothes that are too big and it makes them look bigger and sloppy. Be proud of your body and drape it with beautiful colors and fabrics. A good strapless bra is an amazing investment. We all fear them but if you put the effort into buying one your wardrobe will double. We do not gain weight as much in our shoulders so enhancing shoulders, necks and smiles adds confidence to your look. Take a leap of faith and buy a strapless dress or one shoulder look and your glamour factor goes through the roof.

Q. What is your go-to outfit if you're running out the door (but still want to look fab)?
A. I love a dress. You will rarely see me in jeans. I live for girly, flirty clothes. Even when I just run out the door with no makeup and a ponytail it is in a pretty dress. It also reduces thought about my outfit. I only have to think about one item - the dress - vs. matching pants or skirt with a top and accessories. When I look my prettiest, beware, I probably just rolled out of bed and threw on a fabulous red siren dress since I couldn't think beyond it.
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Q. What is your favorite design this season?
A. I am in love with the Cheetah Asymmetric dress with a brown leather belt. It accentuates the shoulders, looks glam, a girl can wear the belt or not depending on her body type and it is made of luxurious comfortable fabric. You look like a movie star and feel like you're in a tee shirt hanging around the house. I have seen it on a size 12 and a size 20 and they all look gorgeous in it. I love when I design a dress that is this versatile to different body types.

Q. What makes you smile?
A. Color, texture and music. I love surrounding myself with an atmosphere that stimulates my senses positively. It is always nice in the middle of a workday to spin around and smile and giggle because of a pretty pink or an amazing high note or the smooth feel of luscious fabric against my hands.

Q. You said music makes you smile, what are you listening to these days?
A. I am in a female pop star stage. Lots of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Pink and Gwen Stefani.

Anne! Thanks so much for your time. I know you guys are busy. I can't wait to see where this journey takes you. Congrats!

If you'd like to see the behind-the-scenes and the complete collection for the 2011 Runway Show, check out:

What's your favorites design in the AnnaFesta collection?

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