Tell us, who are you? where are you from?
My name is Vanessa Sade Donnelly and I am the owner and fashion designer of Zenobian Moxis based out of Minneapolis. I was born in Providence, RI, raised in Jacksonville, FL, and moved to Minnesota when I was just 10 years old with my mother and siblings.
What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?
I knew when I was younger that I always wanted to be a fashion designer. After I graduated from high school I applied at the Art Institute in Minneapolis and at the time they were the only school that had a career close enough to being a fashion designer (Fashion Merchandising). My mom and I sat in the financial aid office and my grants and loans covered everything but $6,000. This was something we had to come out of pocket and couldn’t afford it. That day my dreams were crushed. So I went to school for a lot of things I wasn’t into and eventually stopped going to school. One day, my now husband bought me my first sewing machine and dress form mannequin, and that’s what ignited my love for designing again. Ever since then I never lost sight of it and self-taught myself everything I know now with the help of YouTube of course.
Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?
I am self-taught
How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
I went from just drawing pieces I’ve always wanted physically made to making the pieces myself.
Are there any types of clothing that you avoid wearing?
There is nothing specific that I can think of that I would avoid, but I would say that if it’s not the most ideal piece of clothing, dress it up or dress it down to how it fits your personality. Fashion is like a canvas. You can design it how you want.
Does your approach differ when designing menswear compared to womenswear?
Yes! There is a bit of a difference for me. I’ve always been so deeply into women’s fashion that I never really bothered to venture into men’s fashion. Not that I don’t want to, I just feel like that’s something I need to give my full attention to, to fully understand men’s fashion. I’ve tried it before and it’s definitely a whole different lane and to me I felt as though I really need to study their wardrobe more.
What advice would you give to young designers?
Don’t double think anything you want to do. Just do it! If you think too much into it, it will draw you further and further away from what it is you would like to accomplish. Once you have your sight set on a goal, stay on that path and don’t look back.
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