sunlight lover

Fabulous Designer: Kelsey Kay

Phoenix Fashion Week has been the leading fashion industry event in the Southwest for over 10 years, with a mission to bridge national and international designers with retailers, boutiques, fashionistas and top fashion media globally. Meet Kelsey Kay of Sunlight Lover, one of this year’s design talents.

IG Handle: @Sunlightlovershop

First fashion job: I could say my first fashion job was working in retail. But, my first full-time job was working as a seamstress at a placemaking organic oil spill bags. Covered in dirt from sewing the peat moss inside these bags, I would ride home or to the beach. This is when I fell in love with the beach lifestyle and started dreaming up my brand for what it is today. Also, I have previously worked for a denim company in LA. I was a specifications writer at the time. Overseeing the sample-making process and learning the way clothes are manufactured inspired me to make a brand that is made in the USA.

When did you know you had a passion for fashion: I knew I was passionate about fashion after I fell in love with watching “America’s Next Top Model.” At the time, I was sewing and making garments for sewing contests. I always wanted to be the designer for the runway shows.

Person who has impacted your fashion life the most and why: My older sister has always been someone I admire and consider to be my muse. Getting her hand-me-down clothes growing up wasn’t so bad! Going shopping with her growing up made me love fashion even more. She encouraged me to pursue my dreams and has always supported me and helped when she could.

Your biggest fashion accomplishment in your eyes and why: Going to college for fashion and completing my degree was a big accomplishment. It was the first big step into making working in the fashion industry a reality for me. I am very passionate about pursuing fashion and moved to California right after high school to attend FIDM, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

The biggest fashion obstacle you have overcome: The biggest obstacle I have had to overcome is having space to create and have my studio. Shortly after moving to California for college, I ended up not having a place to live. The “California dream” that many people try to achieve leads to homelessness, among the many reasons. I have ended up in short-term homeless situations more than once along my journey. I know I am fortunate and, with my brand, I would love to give back.

A designer who inspires you and why: John Galliano inspires me to have no boundaries with my creativity because he has shown so many innovative collections that push boundaries on what is fashion and what art is in the most creative ways.

Favorite quote: “People that mind, don’t matter. People that matter, don’t mind.”

Advice to someone pursuing a career in fashion as a designer: If you are into fashion, do it because you want to be there and because it matters to you.

How has the Phoenix Fashion Week #DesignerBootcamp impacted your brand? #DesignerBootcamp has pushed me to grow my brand quicker and with more focus faster than I would have been able to without their guidance.

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