One of the designers Davroe had the pleasure of working with in New York for Fashion Palette was Ashlee Kalantarian; owner and namesake of her label, Ashlee Lauren Designs.
She’s an extremely talented, SA based designer who we sat down with to talk all things couture accessories.
What first sparked your desire to create bespoke headpieces and accessories?
I designed my own accessories for my wedding in 2012, from there my friends started requesting me to make theirs and it kind of snowballed from there! I then opened my Etsy store later that year, began learning about how to market products and have been addicted ever since.
Have you had your designs showcased before?
New York Fashion Week was definitely the pinnacle of my career so far, and was my first independent runway, but we have also been involved with Races SA for their Spring Racing Carnival Runway. We are again hitting the runway on the 12th of October for Adelaide Fashion Festival, so we’re excited to feel that adrenaline rush again and collaborate with some other talented South Australian Designers.
How did it feel to see your designs showcased on the world stage?
We were in our element and have found a new passion for sure. It was bitter sweet, because I’m my own worst critic and I would change everything!! It was such an exhilarating experience, but it has made me want to go back and do it all again bigger and better.
How long does it take you to make a single piece? headpiece, accessory and designer bouquet? Do you personally hand make each piece?
All of my pieces are handmade by me and it can take anywhere from 3 hours to 3 days to finish an item, which is why runway is quite a challenge. We decided to be a part of Fashion Palette in May and being that I only work 12 hours a week in the studio, with 2 young children, it was a huge accomplishment to be ready by the end of August.
What process do you use to translate the bride’s desires into a unique one of a kind piece? (moodboards, combined meetings, extensive sketches etc)
When I’m approached by a bride, we discuss her dress style and colour, the theme of her wedding, her inspiration and, lastly, how she is planning on wearing her hair. For a custom piece, I will sketch up some designs or if it’s based on one of my previous designs with slight changes we talk about how we can make it work with her dress. I will then send images until we are both happy with the finished product. I love making custom designs because not only does the bride have something unique to her, but I also get to delve into my creative side!
Was this your first trip to New York?
I am fortunate enough to have visited New York many times, as I used to work as Cabin Crew for Emirates Airline in Dubai. We used to stay in Manhattan so it was really nice to stay in West Village this time around, I really enjoyed it there and am very jealous of anyone who is lucky enough to live in the amazing city.
What is your favourite place to visit in New York?
Ahh, where does one start? The art galleries in Chelsea, shopping in SoHo, finding neat little bars and eats in West Village..But my best memory there was back in 2010 going to a roller disco in Brooklyn.
What is the one thing you always take traveling with you?
Converse…comfy walking shoes are a must. And, a suitcase inside another suitcase for shopping.
What one piece of advice would you give someone wanting to start a small business on Etsy?
It’s all about your images! Etsy is like Pinterest or Instagram…you will sell your products if you have a nice photo of it..a few actually. People will want to know how big it is, what it looks like when its worn (if it’s clothing or accessories of course).
Davroe was fortunate enough to work with Ashlee on her photo shoot in New York, below are a few sneak peeks from the shoot.
Finally we would like to take this opportunity to Congratulate Ashlee Lauren Designs, who was recently announced the winner of Best Bridal Accessories and Best Artificial Floral Design at the recent ABIA Bridal Awards, for the 3rd year in a row!