Model Rachel Zimmerman. Photo by Valerie Williams Photography.

Fallene Wells, fashion designer and hairstylist at Voila Salon Spa and Parfumerie, made her mark on “Project Runway” Season 9 as a darling of fashion design. 303 Magazine caught up with this local diva to find out what her experience was like, where she gets her inspiration, and her thoughts on the local fashion scene.

303: What was the first thing that really got you thinking about becoming a fashion designer?

FW: I came to the realization that I wanted to be a designer when I was eleven years old. My sister, Christy, wanted to be an interior designer, so I went with her to check out the school at Brooks College in California. I still remember walking in and seeing all the dress forms displaying beautiful designs, and on the walls were fashion illustrations, and I immediately had this light bulb come on that this is what I should be doing. I went home full of inspiration and started to learn how to sketch and sew.

303: How do the textures, color combinations, and detail found in nature help to inspire your designs?

FW: When you look at nature, there are so many color combinations, patterns, mixed textures and asymmetry that you can use as inspiration for silhouettes, fabric combinations and colors. I think it’s a great source of inspiration that can spark an idea for a design or for your entire collection that is original and beautiful. My husband, Kyle, is also very much into gardening and nature, so I get a lot of inspiration from the plants he uses in our garden like the texture and fun shapes of succulents or the bright bold colors of Dahlias.

303: How would you describe your overall style or that of your designs?

FW: I think a lot of people would describe my style as vintage, inspired with a kick of personality. I’ve always been a fan of vintage, I’m a dreamer of living in a different era, and I really love to incorporate some of the elements from vintage and combining it in my style.

303: What are your favorite pieces of clothing to design?

Model Katie McConnell. Photo by Valerie Williams Photography.

FW: My favorite pieces were dresses, because for me they are easier and faster to design, but now I’m really enjoying designing separates. I think it adds versatility of mix-matching pieces and having more outfits then just one dress. I always seem to dress in layers, and I enjoy adding multiple textures, prints and colors together, which is easier to do with designing separates.

303: In addition to Zooey Deschanel, who are some other celebrities who you think have unbelievable style or that display a sense of style similar to your own?

FW: I have always been a fan of Natalie Portman. I think she is super cute and always has a great traditional style with a little edge. Charlize Theron has a great sense of style, but there are not too many celebrities that have a more vintage funky style, and that’s why I can relate most to Zooey Deschanel.

303: What is the most important thing you learned on “Project Runway,” and how do you plan to incorporate this into your future work?

FW: My experience on “Project Runway” was completely not what I expected. I always thought watching the show that I could do any of the challenges – and I have a pretty crazy hectic life with short deadlines for sewing – so I thought no problem. I was totally wrong. It was a ton of endurance physically, mentally and you really need a lot of confidence. I’ve never been the most confident in myself as a designer, and, since I wasn’t technically trained, I never felt I was a huge threat. That made it harder to stay strong around such overconfident designers, especially without the support of my husband and my sister. The one thing I learned on the show is that Cecilia is a very talented designer and she could make two to three outfits a day, and she could make a flat pattern with her eyes closed. She taught me a lot on how to do it right the first time, and make it perfect. I always think of her when I’m sewing, and try to take short cuts. I also made such amazing friends with some of the cast. I’m really grateful for the experience because it really tested me on what I want as a designer, if I wanted to still design and what I wanted for my future.

303: How would you describe Denver’s fashion scene? How do you see it evolving?

FW: I think Denver’s fashion scene is about to blow up. I feel there are a lot of designers that want more for Denver with a manufacturer, designer fabric stores and a real fashion week that has big buyers, clients and press. It’s a slow-going process, and a lot of us that have been in the community for awhile are putting our heads together on how we make all of these things happen. I think it’s wonderful to see all the teamwork and that people are staying here to make that happen and not just moving where it’s already happening. I love Denver, and I think that we have a supportive creative community that’s original to Denver. Most cities are so competitive and cutthroat that there would never be this type of support.

303: What do you suggest as some must-have pieces for Fall/Winter 2011?

FW: Pieces to layer are always a must-have in my book for fall. Coats, cute scarves and sweater vests, and I also love a great long sweater with tights and knee boots. I’ve spotted some super cute sweater dresses that you can wear with tights or skinny jeans at Token Threads in Cherry Creek off of 3rd and Detroit. Decade also has a huge range of sweaters and layered pieces for Fall/Winter.

303: What do you currently have in the works?

FW: I always have something going on! I recently just finished my fifth annual fashion show, Forever Darling, and it was a huge success. Now I’m working on my next one, which will take place March 30. It will feature about ten “Project Runway” designers that will be designing a collection of five to ten pieces for Fall 2012. I am also looking into producing three to six of my pieces to be sold on my website for Summer 2012. On November 10, I will be judging a fashion show at the Pavilions for Denver Arts Week, and the designers will be creating an outfit inspired by the YSL exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, which will take place March 25. Keep your eyes open on what’s to come from Forever Darling and my clothing line, Let Em’ Have It!

 

 

Leave a Reply