ART INSTITUTE OF HOUSTON FASHION WEEK: Woven Sophistication by Clarence Lee Fashion Show

Friday, November 14, 2014

The third Senior Fashion Design student from the Art Institute of Houston that invited me to their show was Clarence Lee. Clarence Lee debuted his senior collection, titled Woven Sophistication, at the Tres Chic Fashion Show held at Audi Central Houston.  The unique aspect of this show, was the show featured not only Clarence's collection, but 3 others by senior fashion design students! Clarence's show was last, and I thought it was an amazing closer. I really, REALLY loved Clarence's it okay if I say it was my favorite? I can't help it! I just love the minimalism of it all, which is surprising for me because I tend to dress in over the top statement pieces. But the fabrics looked soooo comfy and chic. The styling was perfect from the hair, to the shoes to the sunglasses and when that last look hit the runway with that skirt, I think I hit the person sitting next to me. I keep asking Clarence when I can purchase that skirt (ahem!). Anyway, I had the chance to ask Clarence a few questions on his collection!!! Check out his interview and photos from his show below:  

What was the inspiration for your Senior Fashion Design Collection? 
The inspiration behind my senior collection, are the relationships that I have with family and close friends. They help keep me grounded and focused and continuously give their unconditional support. The support from them was translated into the focal point of the collection; basket weaving. Every strand that is woven by someone in my life, builds the foundation; making it stronger each and every time. As you saw at the show, I became very emotional during my speech, ha! I could not believe that was happening to me, but I was so overwhelmed with happiness and to see all the love and support just made me breakdown. I can go on and on about the inspiration so I will answer the next question! Ha!

How did you decide on your fabric choices and color palette?
I decided to go with linen, silk organza, denim and an organic cotton knit for several reasons; the weather in Houston (need I explain any further?),  and I wanted my clients to be able to mix and match the pieces in ways you normally wouldn't see them put together. They're easy to wear and I just love how they feel against the body. What man or woman doesn't like the feel of linen? People want to wear clothes that are not only beautiful to the eye, but are comfortable; but not in a sweatpants kind of way, more of a T-shirt kind of way. The color palette was chosen and inspired by my favorite flower; peonies, so everything had to be done in white. Plus, I always had the idea of doing my first collection in white ever since I began my studies at The Art Institute of Houston.

Was this your first fashion show?
No, this was not my first show. My first show was back in 2012 in New York for a charity event. At the time, I thought I knew who I was as a designer, but I did not. I remember going to one of my instructors; Marina Saba, and telling her about it with so much excitement, but I could tell she was a little hesitant about me doing the show. She was still supportive and encouraged me to do it. I have also done shows with the fashion club at AIH, called Fashion S.T.A.R.S.

Why did you choose to debut your collection alongside 3 other Senior Fashion Design students versus doing your own show? 
I chose to show with the other three designers because we spent three years together in the sewing labs and created a bond like none other. It was only fitting that I experienced this with them as well.

Was this your first complete collection on your own?
Yes, this was my first collection on my own. I have the privilege of working for Jerri Moore, another Houston designer.

Who are your favorite designers?
This is a tough one! Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, Victoria Beckham, Tomas Maire of Bottega Veneta and Ann Demeulemeester.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Because I am a realist, I know the difficulties and hurdles it takes to start a brand, so in about five to ten years, I want to be established in a fashion house and then branch out on my own. Now if starting my brand comes sooner than later, then hey, I'll take it! Ha!

If you could have your clothes in any store in the world, where would it be? 
I dream of having my clothes in Bergdorf Goodman! There's only one Bergdorf! The reason I want to be in there is because they offer exclusivity, exceptional quality, and the women (and men) that shop there are about style, not trends.

Follow Clarence and his DAL Label on Instagram:

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