If you were wondering who—or what—is cool with the kids these days, you could do a lot worse than perusing Danielle Guizio’s Instagram feed. The 25-year-old designer is behind some of the most “liked” outfits worn by Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kylie Jenner, Lorde, and a good half dozen Victoria’s Secret Angels as of late, and her ab-flaunting sweatsuits, customizable jackets, pavé chokers, and graphic tees have earned her a steadily growing fan base on social media and beyond.
Guizio has plenty of material, whether it’s Bella ducking out of a restaurant in one of her cropped hoodies with The Weeknd in tow, Halsey kicking back on a boat in her “Mustn’t Think Bad Thoughts” slogan hat, or Josephine Skriver, Jasmine Tookes, Stella Maxwell, et al. posed against a brick wall in individually embroidered Angel bombers—plus, it doesn’t hurt that she’s a good billboard for the brand herself, especially since the account doubles as her personal Instagram.
She wasn’t always taking orders from supermodels and fielding calls from celebrity stylists, though. Back in 2013, the New York native was working on the line part-time while taking classes and working in retail, launching with a collection of tees and tanks with Tumblr-style graphics like an Adidas-style logo reading “Burrito,” “Daddy” in pink Barbie script, and “Rap Music Influences Me to Do Bad Things” in big block letters, all of which, she says “kind of flooded the internet.” The buzz around the line was also helped by the fact that Guizio had a relatively robust online presence to begin with, having been part of the MySpace scene during its heyday (and yes, there are the Photobooth selfies to prove it).
“When I first got Instagram four or five years ago, I was already utilizing it to sell old clothes and flip designer bags and accessories that I had,” she says. “I think MySpace was almost a training course, like, “OK, here … this is the internet, and now it’s up to you to decide how you want to use it.'”
As it turned out, she had a pretty good handle on the latter, along with a canny instinct for approaching the right people at the right time. Her first major celebrity boost came two years ago, after she tracked down the address of Jenner’s stylist and sent one of her T-shirts, an oversized style embroidered with “Seriously, Fuck You” on the hem. “I was having a hard time getting in touch with her stylist, so I was just like, I’m going to send it and see what happens,” she recalls.
It paid off: Jenner was photographed not long after wearing the tee through airport security, and has been snapped in it (and the “Daddy” tee) multiple times since.
The shot-in-the-dark tactic also worked in her favor in expanding her wholesale business: Two years ago, she approached Nasty Gal CEO Sophia Amoruso after a talk at the Apple Store in New York to tell her how much she admired her work. The exchange was brief, but Guizio followed up with an Instagram message saying that she’d love to send over her line sheets. Within 24 hours, someone from the Nasty Gal team was in touch, and the retailer has been a stockist ever since.
“I feel like people don’t know that you can just do those things,” she says of her bolder moves. “But you might as well take the chance, because there’s nothing to lose at that point.”
Today, thankfully, she doesn’t have to cold-mail stylists, and other wholesalers, such as Dolls Kill, have been the ones to approach her (the VS Angels’ jackets happened because Skriver’s boyfriend, one of Guizio’s childhood friends, tipped her off to her line). Her line has also evolved past internet-literate tees to a more sophisticated aesthetic, albeit one still very influenced—and in tune with—youth culture.
“Whenever I find that I’ve stopped wearing something, it means, like, OK, I’m off that, I’m maturing, so then my brand kind of matures with me,” she says, explaining that working in retail taught her to hone in on a clear voice.
“I really learned how to tap into a consumer’s brain—to get an idea of how you want to treat a customer, what words to use when you talk to a customer, how to sell something,” she explains. “I’m the same demographic of the girls that wear my stuff, so I just think of what I want to see; what I want to hear; what makes me want to buy a product right then and there.”
The latest to strike a chord with fans are her sweatsuits, which are constructed inside-out, with exposed seams and textured exteriors—a design feature Guizio says was inspired by some of her favorite menswear pieces. “When I first put them out, customers were emailing me like, ‘Oh, these are inside out, mine are wrong,’ and I was like, ‘No, no, no—they’re supposed to be like that.’ It’s fun to get your customers comfortable with something that you’re just putting out into the world.”
And at a moment the tracksuit is on the cusp of a comeback, athleisure has stopped being a buzzword and started being a category unto itself, and Instagram has become our generation’s initial point of contact with brands, it seems like Guizio should be getting comfortable, too.
Ahead, shop some of our favorite pieces from the line, and follow along at @danielleguizio.