I have known that I wanted a career involving Fashion since I was about 11 years old.
Sketch of One of Hope's earlier designs
Q. Were you always clear what path that career would take?
I can’t really say that I am too sure where Fashion still may lead me. I have been blessed to be able to become well rounded and gain working experience in different aspects of the industry. I really want to try my hand at everything, so that I am a well-rounded designer.
Q. To know you is to know you are a mother first, do you have any tips on how to balance work and family. Or better yet slip ups to avoid that have proven to keep one unbalanced?
A. I am still working on the balance part. I am beginning to find a bit more balance. For me, I had to learn that some things just have to wait. You really have to prioritize your time. My personal life has suffered greatly because of my art. If you are a person that loves to socialize, (which I am not necessarily), than you need to make time for this. I am learning to limit the amount of work that I take home, and when I answer e-mails, etc. My daughter will be off to college in 2 years, so I am really trying to work on spending as much time as I can with her and we have become more involved with our respective interests.
Q. Was there a mentor in your life who left a lasting impression who were they?
A. My grandmother and mother were huge mentors. I am a firm believer that anyone can rise above any situation, because I saw them do this. Professionally, I have had a lot of mentors along the way, people who have helped me to perfect my craft and who have taken a chance on me when it was probably very risky to do so: Evelyn Pappas, Jacqueline Keuhler, Sachiko Honda, John Bauernfiend, Anthony Miller, and Insook Ahn.
Q. We here at HauteTrenta are all about highlighting those of us on the sunny side of thirty. How has reaching this milestone changed you for the better?
A. When I first turned thirty, I had a slight mid-life crisis, then I realized that life was just beginning to take off. I had finally paid my dues and was being respected as a professional, and things have pretty much been on a roll since then. I may have a distorted view of what it is to be in my mid-thirties, since I am surrounded by college students, but I appreciate the maturity, experience and wisdom that comes with age.
Q. Who is your favorite designer?
A. I definitely don’t have one favorite designer, I probably couldn’t even put together a prioritized list, since I like different designers for different reasons. Here are a few of my favorites:
Stephen Burrows, Marc Jacobs, DSquared2, Moschino, Albert Albaz for Lanvin, Tom Ford, Proenza Schouler, DVF, Chloe, Tracy Reese, Michael Kors, Karl Lagerfeld, Thierry Mugler, Jeremy Scott……and there are plenty more.
A. My vision is to make a line of beautifully constructed garments, that stay true to my aesthetic, that women will love.
Q. What was the inspiration for your latest collection?
A. The inspiration for this collection was Art Deco. I initially thought that my color story was all over the place, but in the end everything seemed to come together.
Q. As a true HauteTrenta woman you have moved around a bit. Which city has been your favorite so far and why?
A. I would have to say that I loved living in Brooklyn in the late 1990’s, it was still very Bohemian and the celebrity craze had not hit yet, so you could see plenty of celebrities in the neighborhood without anyone making a fuss. Everyone in Brooklyn just had crazy cool individual style and it was embraced. There was design inspiration everywhere and I could walk to Juniors to get cookies! I do love the DMV, I guess it’s true that there is no place like home. I love that DC is a smaller cosmopolitan city that is easy to navigate. The fashion scene here is very small, and generally fashion people from Philadelphia, Baltimore, D.C. and Virginia can network and collaborate since the cities are so close together.
Q. As a designer with an incredible skill for garment construction I have to ask what are some of the mistakes that we women make when dressing that you would like to help us correct?
A. The mistake that is most often made is an individual buying clothes that do not fit. Clothing should not be too small or too large. Necklines should not gape, armholes should not be too tight or too low. If you are wearing a fitted dress or skirt, wrinkles across the hips means that the skirt is too tight. If a garment rides up as you walk, it is too tight. Know how to dress for your body shape, generally, if you are round you want to wear slimming and lengthening silhouettes, and vice versa. Individuals should also know the tradition of dress, before they defy convention. Simple things like properly tying a necktie and bow tie, which skirt lengths to wear to formal, semi-formal and cocktail events, proper shoe heel heights for certain occasions, etc., these are all important elements of dress and where the most common mistakes are made.
Q. What is your favorite fashion time in history and why?
A. I would definitely say my favorite period of reference for fashion would be the 1960’s and 1970’s. My aesthetic is very reminiscent of the 1960’s. I love mod looks and it shows up often in my work. I am inspired often by pop art and op art, and graphic prints, which were all relevant during this time. I also love the silhouettes of the 1970’s. I like the simplicity of the silhouettes and construction, with a bit of shock value, thrown in. I think that this was one of the more adventurous decades of dress in that the beginning and end of the decade were so different. I love the influence that YSL had on the looks of this decade with incredible pant looks, the use of women of color on the runway, safari looks, and the pant suit “Le Cigarette”. By the 1970’s women were over the rebellious look in fashion and were starting to dress a bit more feminine and streamlined and definitely more glamorous by the end of the decade. Embarrassingly, I still look to Charlie’s Angels and Pam Grier as fashion icons.
Q. What is on your playlist during your long hours behind your sewing machine?
A. Hah, first and foremost I am an old school hip-hop head, but I would say that my taste in music is pretty varied. I definitely listen to a lot of A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-1, Black Moon, De La Soul, Tony Bennett, Notorious B.I.G, Common, Chuck Brown, New Edition, Junkyard Band and other old school go-go, the Beastie Boys, Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan, Jodeci, Hall and Oates, Big Daddy Kane, Eric B. and Rakim, the Stylistics, Frank Sinatra, Hezekiah Walker……
We have enjoyed this time with you Hope. Everyone you can learn about the HOPE WALLACE COLLECTION here