Meet Elle – she’s a native Miami/Brooklyn girl studying fashion design at Pratt Institute and happens to be one of the dopest, most innovative talents to keep an eye out for. As stated on her website (link below), her “creations and social narrations consistently present women as empowered beings in unorthodox ways that dismantle previously-held traditions.” As our #moderngirlcrush of the week, we asked for a peek into her latest collection (featured on Creem Magazine) as well as inspirations, current music favs, and more. We’re so excited to see more from Elle – read on why:
Name: Elle Barbeito
City: 305/ Brooklyn
Occupation: Womenswear designer/ fashion design student @ Pratt
What (or who) inspired you to pursue a career in the fashion industry?
Alexander McQueen had and continues to have the heaviest influence on me and my love for fashion. I was always very involved in art since I was younger, and I always had an appreciation for both fashion and art as individual mediums. When I realized I could merge the two, I really fell in love with it and realized it was what I wanted to do. Alexander McQueen was one of the designers who really showed me that fashion design is way more than just making clothes, its a form of art. McQueen’s ability to convey even his darkest emotions and thoughts into such truly timeless pieces really blows my mind. There was just something about his work that was so romantic and so terrifying at the same time that really just made it such an experience for me.
What piece – or collection – of yours are you most proud of?
My favorite collection so far has to be my FW15 collection. It was the first collection I had to produce for school, and it was my first chance to really show my teachers and peers my personal aesthetic as a designer. As I was developing it, I was looking at a lot of videos of rodeos, old photos of cowboys and western wear for inspiration. I looked a lot at gun harnesses, lassos, and rodeo chaps, and really tried to keep those references relevant throughout the garments. I feel like I ended up creating the wardrobe for this really tough bitch who would come riding in to your funeral on a bull, and I’m pretty excited that that was the outcome.
Have you found it difficult to get ahead as a latinx woman in the industry?
I don’t think me being a latinx woman has really held me back from getting ahead in the industry, however, there are definitely things that I have to deal with because of it. Not only within the industry, but in social settings as well. One of the biggest issues I face as a latinx woman is that its often harder for me to be taken seriously, and I believe a huge part of that has to do with the way people perceive my mannerisms. There were many situations where I felt like I had to hold back my character in fear of coming off too strong, or to avoid getting comments about my Miami accent or the way I speak. This didn’t really become a problem for me until moving away from Miami to New York, so I didn’t really know what to do about it at first. Eventually I realized that it was okay to fully embrace my culture and my roots, and that I should never have to play down the very things that make me who I am for the sake of others comfort.
What are you most excited about in terms of your career?
I’m definitely excited to finish up these next two years and graduate from Pratt. Once I graduate I’d like to go ahead and get started on building my womenswear brand from New York, and fully dedicate my time to being a womenswear designer. As a designer I try to challenge myself by trying to discover new ways to empower women through design. I’ve always seen fashion design as a way of creating your own world, so I’m excited to see the world I get to create and who ends up connecting with it.
Current music favorites?
I’m honestly the worst when it comes to finding new music, so whenever I try to venture off to discover new stuff I always end up coming back to familiar bands, or will only listen to one song for like days. I’m usually always listening to The Killers, The Strokes, James Blake or The Growlers.
What does being a “modern girl” mean to you?
Being a modern girl to me is being self aware in all aspects (mentally, emotionally, sexually, spiritually etc), determined, and not giving a damn about what anyone might think!
Check out Elle’s FW15 collection featured in this editorial on Creem Magazine: http://creemmag.com/the-soloist/