DESIGNER TALK: KRYSTELL BARRAZA

How did you become involved in fashion design? A bit by chance! A friend introduced me to a designer that worked in the city of Chicago when I was fifteen. My parents would drive me to her place on the weekends and I would help her around her studio or with client fittings. After we finished the day’s errands, she would take the rest of the day to teach me how to make a garment from scratch. Over a period of six months, she gave me a great foundation in how to create a sketch, translate that into a pattern, and then finally sew it up. After that experience I knew that I wanted to pursue design as a career.

What materials do you most like to work with? Up until recently, I would have said any kind of silk. But now, I enjoy working with handwoven textiles so much more. Each one is an absolute treasure, and it forces me to respect the material and make sure that it does not go to waste. The artisans who make them usually take 150 hours to create a single piece, so I feel like I owe it to them to create something that they would be proud of too.

How does your geographical location influence your aesthetic? For many, the Midwest = more wearable, and that holds true to my own aesthetic to some extent. However, I do like to draw inspiration from unique locations, whether that’s the Icelandic countryside or a desert with snow-white sand in New Mexico, and build a collection around those places (and then shoot there!). So I don’t let my location limit me in that regard.

What’s been your greatest professional achievement to date? The response I got after launching my business despite still being in school at the time—every pull request, every new client, is a nice bit of validation in knowing that I made the right decision, even if it seemed rash at the very beginning.

What’s one thing people would never guess about you? I love Star Wars, haha!

For more, head to KrystellBarraza.com