Chantell Walters: Emerging British Designer on the Radar

With the flurry of fashion-based reality shows and fashion as a pop culture phenomenon, a career in fashion has because a matinee occupation for creative types. That said, many are called, but few are chosen. London-based designer Chantell Walters is one of chosen few who is living her dream.

After graduation for the prestigious London College of Fashion, Chantell Walters concentrated on getting some practical experience and launching her own line.  With her brand launching in 2009, and editorials in LABB Magazine and other British fashion glossies, Chantell Walters is living her dream.

During Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Chantell Walters spoke with Fashion Reverie about her journey, her dreams, and her projections for the future.

 

Fashion Reverie: How did you first become interested in fashion?

Chantell Walters: I decided to become a designer at an early age and was inspired by glamorous mother. I would spend hours dressing up in her clothes and making paper wigs.

Images courtesy of Chantell Walters

FR:  You attended the prestigious London College of Fashion, where you were recognized as a future star at the Niquitin CQ Fashion Awards. What did you learn at the London College of Fashion that prepped you for a career in fashion?

Chantell Walters: I finished my degree in 2005. I not only learned to make and design clothes, but also to think about fashion as a business. We were taught about marketing, clothing price points and manufacturing. We also learned to think about the commerciality of our designs.

 FR: You interned at Preen and Gavin Douglas. Could you speak about your experience there?

Chantell Walters: Working at Preen was great because it was a small business, and they showed at London Fashion Week and had their own boutique. It was a good experience because I was able to learn about all of the different aspects of running a fashion business. I realized quite quickly that designing garments was a small part of starting a company; the real challenge is turning that creativity into a viable business. Working with Gavin inspired me to follow my dreams and that it is achievable.

FR: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Chantell Walters: My aesthetic is definitely futuristic luxury. My clothes tend to have a sexy, sci-fi edge without looking like a costume.

FR: What inspires you as a designer?

Chantell Walters: I am inspired by the future and science fiction a lot. I have always been fascinated by the future and innovation. I am also inspired by different cultures, particularly indigenous culture, which I hope to reference in my later collections.

FR: What do you believe separates British fashion from fashion you might in NYC or Paris?

Chantell Walters: I think British fashion is edgy and raw compared to what you might see in NYC and Paris. You tend to find that British designers take risks and push boundaries without thinking so much about selling thousands of garments. NYC is more commercial and about making money, so their clothing tends to be more wearable. Because fashion in Paris is chic and Paris is the birthplace of couture, fashion there tends to be more experimental, than what you would in London at the present time.

FR: Who is your customer?

Chantell Walters: My customer is a woman that is not afraid to take risks. She is confident, sexy and likes to march to the beat of her own drum. When she walks into the room, people notice her for the right reasons.

FR: Now, you combine and edgy, fashion-forward aesthetic with new textile technologies. Could you speak about this combination?

Chantell Walters: In my previous collection I used neoprene which is what they use to make surfers body suits. I like to combine unconventional fabrics to create something fresh and interesting.

FR: How are you keeping your brand going in a stagnant economy?

Chantell Walters: I took just over a year off to try to raise funds for the brand. In January 2012 I thought it was time to start the brand up again. Some people may find it strange to start a business at a time like this, but I believe if you can be successful now, your business will have longevity.

FR: What are your price points?

Chantell Walters: My dresses range from $700 to $1300.

FR: Where can consumers purchase your clothes?

Chantell Walters: They can contact me directly at the moment and we can ship it out to them. I should be stocked in some boutiques in London by the end of March.

Chantell Walters

FR: What’s next for you?

Chantell Walters: I plan to get my clothes on more celebrities to raise my profile, have a show in New York in September and be stocked in more boutiques.

For more information on Chantell Walters, go to chantellwalters.co.uk.

—William S. Gooch

 

Comments

  1. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.

    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just
    wanted to say great site!

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