Although Christine PhilipÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ fashion company is based in Atlanta, Georgia, her sophisticated New York style is evident in all her designs. No formal design school training, Christine graduated from Emory University then quickly apprenticed with a European couturier. Her creations are built on European techniques with a global flair. ChristineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s inspirations come from the parts of the worldÃ¢â‚¬¦Although Christine Philip’s fashion company is based in Atlanta, Georgia, her sophisticated New York style is evident in all her designs. No formal design school training, Christine graduated from Emory University then quickly apprenticed with a European couturier. Her creations are built on European techniques with a global flair. Christine’s inspirations come from the parts of the world she’s traveled and fell in love with. Now she has moved into jewelry and handbags, crediting her success with a focused grandiose vision from the beginning. ASIANCE Magazine had a chance to catch up with Ms. Philip in the middle of her design session for her latest collection.
I am basically “infusing’ elements of my heritage to the forefront of Western couture and I wish to continue making my collections more modern and contemporary with that hint of South Asian and Eastern flair.
ASIANCE: You’re multicultural! What is your complete ethnic background?
Christine: My Father is Indian and my mother’s side of the family has Indian, Portuguese and German ancestry.
ASIANCE: When did you decide to get into Couture design?
Christine: Couture is something I’m extremely passionate about. I’ve been designing since I was a teen, but I did not make it a career till about three years ago during my senior year of college.
I started from the bottom; during my summers, I worked retail at Bally of Switzerland. I enjoyed working there and when I started wearing my designs to work, people would ask me where I got it from. That’s when I started making dresses for a few clients. The response and the demand that I received was so incredible that I began drawing up a business plan, and soliciting the help of investors and soon after, launched my label.
ASIANCE: Why did you not go to a typical design school? Do you think it would’ve been easier for your career path had you done that?
Christine: If I had known on the onset that I was going this path, I think life would have been easier if I had gone to a formal design institution. But I am actually happy that I went to a school like Emory. The business classes that I had taken there have helped me become a good business woman today. A lot of people forget that fashion is a business; you have to know how to market your product- and I think that regardless of what industry you go into, a solid understanding of marketing, finance, management, and accounting will be beneficial in the long run.
ASIANCE: Who did you apprentice for?
Christine: She’s amazing and also very “hush hush’ about her program. She’s a Russian couturier and she’s been in the designing business for more than 25 years and she taught me all aspects of design from patternmaking, to draping, to cutting and sewing.
ASIANCE: Describe your typical client. Who do you design for?
Christine: I design for the sophisticated, confident, and dynamic woman who appreciates their individuality through fashion that compliments both their personality and their outward beauty. My clients are well traveled and like wearing something original, luxurious and exclusive.
ASIANCE: Most of your clothes seemed Indian inspired. Is that your standard or are you planning to venture out to new cultural inspirations?
Christine: Well, I am basically “infusing’ elements of my heritage to the forefront of Western couture and I wish to continue making my collections more modern and contemporary with that hint of South Asian and Eastern flair. I use a lot of our rich, lavish fabrics known for their lush embroidery, vibrant colors, and undeniably exotic flavor so when clients literally “wear’ fragments of our culture, they literally stand out. This is my niche.
ASIANCE: Is there something you would recommend to aspiring designers on what to do and what NOT to do?
Christine: I definitely recommend working retail and interning at various fashion houses. I learned so much from working at Bally from how to be a good sales person to finding out what a customer is really looking for.
Start networking now- in this business, who you know can be helpful for your career. I was surprised that a few of my friends went into the fashion industry after graduation and they happen to be assistant buyers for some of the larger retailers. Find your niche and do it better than anyone else.
It gets frustrating at times, especially when you are an entrepreneur trying to establish yourself. My advice is, if it’s something you are passionate about- follow your dream and don’t give up.
To make it in this business you not only have to be a good designer, you have to be business savvy, well read and confident in your work.
ASIANCE: Which designers do you admire?
Christine: I admire the empires that Armani and Kenneth Cole -who also coincidentally graduated from Emory-, have built. Their success stories are an inspiration to me. I also admire Zuhair Murad (of whom I had a chance to interview when I was working at a fashion columnist for an online magazine). His designs are beautiful, inspiring, and truly magnificent pieces of design.
ASIANCE: What future plans do you have for Christine Philip?
Christine: I am extremely grateful and blessed to be where I am. But I still am continuing to make a name for myself and have future plans to expand my clothing line to more retail locations nation wide and internationally. I’d also like to open up my first flagship store within the next year and have a few showrooms in select cities.
For more on Christine’s designs visit her at http://www.christinephilip.com.