New Designer: Alisha Levine

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Name: Alisha Levine

Occupation: Designer, Alisha Levine

StyleCaster: Where are you originally from?

Alisha Levine: I was born and raised in Long Island, New York (Great Neck to be specific).

SC: What’s one thing that people don’t know about Alisha Levine the person?

AL: There are so many things! I love to spin at the gym at least four times a week, I sucked my thumb until I was eleven (my dad would argue I was fourteen, but I’m being honest, I was 11)! I love french onion soup so much I consider driving to Massachusetts all the time to my favorite spot just to have it. I’m very sensitive and cry really hard during sad movies–oh yes, really loudly too. I have an enormous laugh that I allow to get out of control…sometimes, and I love dogs so much I wish I could have 100.

SC: Your brother was a chef on HELLS KITCHEN. Is there a secret in your family you’d like to share?

AL: There are actually three of us. We are all just very motivated. We were always taught to make a mark in this world no matter what we do. Seth is a fantastic cook and yes, somehow survived the insane Gordon Ramsey of Hells Kitchen. We are creative people who like to stand out I guess…

SC: Who inspires you?

AL: For starters, my mom was a fashion model years ago and was absolutely stunning. She met my father while going on a go-see in the Manhattan building I currently work in, located in the garment district. My father is running a family business that dates back almost 70 years. I guess it’s in our blood.

SC: Your named the line after yourself, do people ever recognize you with the line?

AL: It’s so funny, yes! I actually get a little shy when something like that happens. It’s not like walking into a restaurant and everyone knowing who you are like Jennifer Aniston, so when it does happen, I’m always so flattered–however my cheeks tend to turn red.

SC: When did you start designing and when did you begin the line?

AL: Three and a half years ago I left Conde Nast. I was a fashion editor/stylist where I dressed some of Hollywood’s most famous celebrities! It was an amazing time in my life, but I always wanted to design my own clothing line. I spent so many years dressing celebrities in other designers’ clothing, I thought to myself…now is the time to do it!

SC: Your label has soared in sales. When you see people wearing Alisha Levine do you ever say anything?

AL: I do, I find myself staring…I always love to see how someone else interprets the style. If I’m with a family member I can’t say for sure they wont go over and blurt out, “You’re wearing my sister’s top,” or “My daughter’s dress.” The person usually looks back in disbelief as though they were accused of stealing rather than realizing they are referring to the label…

SC: You have had great coverage in magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Glamour. What was the key to your success?

AL: I think fashion magazines are always looking to display the most current styles and fashion forward trends. However, not many readers can afford a $900 tank. I feel as long as my styles are trendy, wearable, and affordable, a reader will enjoy seeing something of mine in the mix of other fashion finds. I believe editors feel the same way. There’s no reason why a woman cant wear a $200 dress with $600 shoes! I’m all about mixing and matching at all price points.

SC: Your line is worn by some of the hottest starlets like Jessica Simpson, Sophia Bush, Mischa Barton, and even Britney Spears yet your price points are ideal for everyone. Who is your target market and why?

AL: My target market is everyone–I don’t create pieces that are age specific; I create feel good pieces for any age! I think no matter who you are, famous or not, everyone is out for the same thing: to look in a mirror and say, “Wow! I look good” or “I feel good wearing this.” When a celebrity is wearing something from my collection I feel good because they feel good.

SC: Do you have a signature piece or signature detail?

AL: Ruffles. Not everything has ruffles, but I do incorporate ruffles in a lot of what I do. Ruffles are so feminine and sexy–I like to feel girly and still have a little edge.

SC: You’ve been quoted calling your line “The modern woman’s answer to effortless chic.” Tell us about that.

AL: Yes, exactly that! My designs are meant for the person on the go…something that’s so easy to throw on and still look great in. I’m always on the run and a t-shirt may be comfortable but isn’t going to cut it. I still want to look cute and have the capability to take something from day to night.

SC: What makes Alisha Levine stand out from other fashion lines?

AL: Fit, color, and style. I am crazy over fit. I hate walking into a store and trying on a small that’s way too small and when finally squeezing into the large I realize it’s not the two slices of pizza I had for lunch, but simply the fit is off! I like a small to fit a small and medium to fit a medium etc, etc. I like to use a lot of bright colors, but don’t get me wrong, I love black–who doesn’t? So black will always be available within my collection, however, I do use a lot of color because, why not? It’s fun and flirty. Style is important to me. I always look to create something that’s easy and yet, of course, fashionable! Sticking with the trend, I look to design a person’s ‘go-to top’ which, in my opinion, means the piece you can always rely on! It’s sexy, easy, comfortable, and perfect for any occasion.

SC: If you could choose any photographer and model to shoot a future Alisha Levine campaign, who would it be?

AL: I would love to someday shoot with Steven Klein, who wouldn’t? He’s brilliant and so talented. As far as models go, I would today, say Natasha Poly. I love her look–she’s stunning and can pull off so many styles. I love when a person can change, rearrange, and re-create a look for themselves. She’s naturally beautiful and even more so when made up.

SC: Your dresses were featured on Deal or no Deal for the Make a Wish Foundation. Are you involved with other charities?

AL: Yes, I also help raise money for widows and orphans of fallen soldiers. I try and help with as many organizations as possible. Even if it’s donating a single top or dress for a raffle, I have such a soft spot for all charities.

SC: How do you see yourself staying on top of the game in the upcoming seasons?

AL: For starters, I am always evolving and looking to re-invent. I like to think of myself as someone who will keep up with the trends and, most importantly, stay calm! This is such a crazy business, I try not to take anything too personally.

SC: What are your plans for the future?

AL: For Fall 2010, I’m launching a denim line called Private Denim, it will be a 1500 pair exclusive deal with closure buttons from the NYC Plaza Hotel. Each style is of a different NYC location. Currently, I’m dreaming of my old (pre-pregnancy) body and getting excited about the Lower East Side, so they are skinny jeans with really great zippers. The line will continue beyond the 1500 exclusive pieces, minus the NYC memorabilia.

SC: What advice do you have for new designers?

AL: When opportunity doesn’t knock…build a door! Nothing in life is free or falls from the sky–what you put in is what you get out so work, work, work!

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