As mentioned in our last post, we wanted to pick “up and coming” designer Wellta Boualaphanh’s brain a bit to get insight on her fashion endeavors. In exactly eight questions, we got to understand the woman behind the label, what areas she finds are key to design and what lies ahead for Ms. Boualaphanh.
Tell us a bit about your background Wellta.
I am originally from Massachusetts. I moved to New York City in 2001, right after high school which also happened to be two weeks after September 11 tragedy. With three garbage bags filled with clothes, five hundred dollars to my name, and an acceptance letter to F.I.T., I had high hopes & dreams. I attended The Fashion Institute of Technology and received a Bachelors degree in Fashion Design. I held design positions at Best & Co. owned by Susie Hilfiger, Weatherproof, and Tory Burch. I moved here to DC about three and a half years ago for a life style and career change. I decided to return to my fashion origins early 2011 and start a brand of womenswear dresses calling it WELLTA. I have met so many talented & inspiring people in the DC area which inspired me to do what I love, designing & making dresses.
At what point did you realize designing clothing was your calling?
I have always watched my grandmother sew away on her vintage sewing machine and was always curious to see what she was doing while the other kids were playing. I realized that designing was my calling when I was a junior in high school because that was when we needed to decide what we wanted to do in life or what college to apply to. At that moment in time I enjoyed my sewing and art classes so much that I figured why not incorporate both and become a fashion designer? I took a chance at applying to only F.I.T. I can look back saying all the hard work, dedication and skipping lunch to go art class to work on my portfolio was all worth it.
I understand the Spring/Summer 2012 Little Black Dress collection is inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s effortless style and eternal beauty. How many dresses are in the collection? Can you go into detail about each dress and the backstory behind them?
Yes certainly. The inspiration behind the S/S 2012 collection was inspired by one of my many favorite Fashion Icon Audrey Hepburn and the 50′s and 60′s Era. I have always loved the classic timeless look and it inspired me to add a modern twist with clean lines. The first collection was tightly edited and consists of 5 pieces. The collection is all about the Little Black Dresses because I feel that it is an essential piece to have in every women’s closet and who can’t get enough of black dresses. I have always gravitated towards what catches my eyes, love and quality when it comes to sourcing fabrics or trims. This collection has a little bit Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Onasis, and Marilyn Monroe – The chic, fun, conservative and sexy look. For every dress that I make, I would name it after the client because they are one of a kind pieces. Out the door, I want each client to feel “This is my dress.”
From design to implementation, is there a specific aspect that you relish when creating an article of clothing?
The specific aspect that I relish when creating a garment is after the initial concept when I start to make the actual patterns then cut and sew. The most satisfying part is to see everything come to life and being able to meet each clients expectations.
In cooking, there are signature ingredients that chefs may use often regardless of season. Parallel to this comparison, do you have a specific material that you hold dear to that we’ll see in this collection and beyond?
In the fashion world I would say my signature ingredient would be my attention to detail with every stitch and the various types of fabric that I choose.
If there is someone you could collaborate with in the near future, who would it be?
I would love to collaborate with Stella McCartney and Alexander Wang. I have always been & still a fan of their work.
What should we look forward to in the upcoming Autumn/Winter 2012 range?
A collection that is all about versatility and layering.
Oh and to appease my curiosity, will we ever see Wellta on Project Runway?
I love Project Runway! The possibilities are endless. That is definitely something on my list to sign up for.
Well Wellta, thank you very much for granting DCSocialite an audience and for this interview.
Very good. I mean Thank you Van for the interview.
Wellta’s S/S 2012 line can be viewed at WELLTA.
Photo Source: Vithaya PhotographyShare