My Life in Design

APRIL 21, 2014


Photo by: Liz Teich

My favorite quote from the Academy Award winning costume designer, Edith Head, is: “You can have anything you want in life, if you dress for it.” I’ve always believed that fashion is an essential part of self-expression – my motto being, “Half of what you wear is how you wear it.”

Design and creativity have always played a significant role in my life. There was never a question in my mind that I would have a career in the fashion industry. I took art classes and attended summer programs and seminars that focused on art and fashion. I majored in fashion design in college. I made almost every decision with my goal of working in this industry in mind.

Landing what I thought was my dream job at a large, well-known designer brand a year after graduating from school was a great feeling…for a short time. But after awhile, I found myself feeling restless, desperately in search of a more creative outlet. I needed a project that was truly my own.

Working on my senior thesis collection, I found myself drawn to the details: embossed leather belts on the dresses, patterned bows on heels, fabric covered headbands. After finishing the collection, my interest in accessories continued to grow. A few years after college when I finally decided to take the leap and create my own line, accessories felt like a very natural starting point. I decided to call my company Nona E Rose, named after both of my grandmothers.

Producing a line of fashion accessories is exhilarating. It gives you the opportunity to design and create every season. I love how just one piece – a belt, necklace or bracelet -can completely change the look of an outfit. Within the first few years of running my business, boutiques and department stores I admired placed orders. Having my work on the shelf next to famous designers I had looked up to for years and selling to a whole new client base has been incredible. It’s great to go into one of the stores and see a customer excitedly trying on a new piece, sometimes in a way that I hadn’t even thought of!

Having a fashion line today is about more than making a product. It’s telling a story. I had to push myself to decide what else was going to be a part of the Nona E Rose Brand. It was a multi step process, from rebuilding the website on my own to launching a bespoke bridal division. It has been quite a journey and a true balancing act.

Pouring energy into evenings spent writing pitches and balancing budgets while still being on my game at 9AM Monday – Friday for a full-time job requires drive, focus, and too many cups of coffee. And, somewhere in the mix I have to find time to exercise, (try to) eat healthy, be a good friend and family member, be good to MYSELF, and maybe even get eight hours of sleep every now and again. But I wouldn’t give it up.

After 20-something years of living and breathing fashion, I realized that what I love most about style is the confidence it gives women. It’s tough to fit everything into a 24-hour day, but when a client tells me how great she feels in my work, I know it’s all worth it. The ups and downs of the creative process and building a business can be unnerving, but for me they have been a necessary part of becoming the confident designer and woman I want to be.




“Between running from the metal caster to the sewing room on cold New York mornings, the Oatmeal Shea Butter Hydration lotion keeps my hands hydrated and smooth for afternoon business meetings.”

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