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Inside Steven Alan

Steven Alan Talks With Duskin

  • Every time I hear the crunch of sidewalk salt under my shoes, I dream about how great spring will be. And this means throwing my puffy coat onto a funeral pyre and getting super excited for one of the new lines we will be carrying–Duskin. Duskin’s designer Stephanie Tran keeps a blog that is keeping us satiated (and inspired!) until her line arrives in our store in a couple of months. I asked Stephanie some questions about the Duskin Collection, what inspires her, and the nickname her friends have tagged her with.

    SA: I love the color palette of the Spring 2009 collection. I saw that you have done some experimentation with natural dyes, including tea. What inspired the lovely muted tones for Spring?

    Stephanie: When I was designing Spring, I just thought, “What colors would I want to be wearing right now?”
    I’ve just always loved pale, muted colors because they are so pretty and romantic, and they have a way of making you feel just that. When all of my friends saw the line, the first thing most of them said was, “These colors are so you.” I took that as a compliment.

    SA: I saw a comment someone left regarding Duskin that reads, “Tran is a brilliant artist.” The blending of fashion and art is exciting and inspiring. Can you tell us about any artists who inspire you? I thought I’d kick things off with this Rothko painting that made me think of Duskin.

    Stephanie: That’s hilarious! Anyone who calls me “Tran” is most likely a very close friend, so I wouldn’t put any weight in that comment- my friends are beyond kind, generous, and supportive! I personally am not very well versed in “art” art, even though one of my closest friends runs a gallery. In fact, speaking about it makes me uncomfortable because I don’t know enough. But I will tell you that there are a few artists who consistently make me very emotional when I see their work, and they are:
    Egon Shiele, Bruce Nauman, Cy Twombly, and yes, Mark Rothko.
    And then there are the ones I see on blogs, flickr, Etsy, etc. There is a lot of creative talent in the world.
    Anything that I make outside of clothes I would consider to be arts+crafts.

    SA: The Spring collection is ultra-feminine. I love how luxurious the lace and silk feels without seeming impossible to wear. Do you design with the everyday in mind?

    Stephanie: Thank you- “ultra-feminine” is a compliment! I want people to feel pretty wearing the clothes, and I want them to be comfortable too. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for. I think it’s ok to use dressier fabrics for simpler, casual silhouettes. As a person who likes practicality and a little flash in the same breath, I definitely design clothes that can be worn from day-to-evening.
    I have a dress I call “the simple dress” because, as you can guess, it’s just a very simple silk charmeuse shift. I often wear it with tights and boots as-is during the days, and then add a skinny leather belt at night, which cinches, shortens, and yes, makes me feel ultra-feminine.

    SA: A lot has been said about your interesting career path. I like that you reference your shop girl days, and wearing your own designs. Did you always think that you would have your own line (or can you talk about the generation of having your own line)?

    Stephanie: I always wanted my own line as a romantic idea, but I never really thought I would have a real business out of it.
    Back when I was a shopgirl at a store called Dressing Room (it was on Prince Street, but is no longer there), I was hand-sewing things and selling as I made them. I basically wanted new clothes to wear out at night, so I’d make something and probably end up wearing it again the next time I worked, and then people started asking to buy them. But it was just more of a hobby than anything, and after a while, I moved on to other jobs in and out of the fashion industry…There’s really a lot to talk about on this, but I won’t bore you.
    I guess if I have to sum it all up, I’ve been around the block. You name it- from shopgirl, to intern, to bartending in a cafe, to Vogue, to styling, to [designing for] American Eagle, to Forever 21. I’ve been lucky enough to have had amazing opportunities as far as work is concerned, and have tried to take every one of them as they came. But now I just feel like the time is right to make my own. Also, I don’t know who else would really hire me now with that crazy resume!
    Does that make sense?


    SA: Music seems to be really important to you. On your blog you often share what music has currently been taking over your life. So, what are you listening to right now?

    Stephanie: I just posted a new playlist for January-check it out! Right now it’s about a bit of nostalgia.
    It’s a new year, so there’s reflection; I just moved, so there’s unpacking which leads to more reflection. Just totally random thinking of songs I hadn’t heard but wanted to listen to, and then some new songs I just discovered (new songs to me).
    So the playlist is an extension of that. Some saaaaaaaad, sad songs, fun songs, optimistic songs, and ironically good songs.
    Music really is important to me. I find it very emotional and vulnerable, and that makes me connect….I can get lost in a song or an album and just zone out and do my thing.

    Totally random, and I don’t know why this is, but I’ve had dreams where songs I hated during my waking hours played a large role, only to wake up and really love them afterwards. It’s strange.

    Thanks Stephanie!

    Interview by Tiffany Iung

    This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 at 11:33 am and is filed under Have a Seat. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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2 Responses to “Steven Alan Talks With Duskin”

  1. miss sophie says:

    that second look with the slouchy pant and tank is exactly how i want to look and feel come spring and summer…so lovely!

  2. [...] steven alan was the first retailer to place an order with duskin for spring, and for that i am so grateful. i’ve always been a fan of the store, and remember back when there was only one. it’s great to see their success – they have a look that is all their own, and it serves them well.their merchandise is very nice, and well chosen, and it appears so is their team. i recently spoke with tiffany iung, and she has just posted the interview on the steven alan journal/blog. please check it out here. [...]