DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: Allison Nicole Designs

Intricate fabrics, bespoke fittings, and enhancing the female form, we talk to U.S designer Allison Berger ahead of her Vancouver Fashion Week showcase.

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MM: Can you explain your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

Allison Berger: Allison Nicole Designs specializes in bridal, evening, and red-carpet gowns with an elegant yet ethereal aesthetic. I love to create breath-taking pieces for everyone to enjoy.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?

Allison Berger: I launched my namesake collection, Allison Nicole Designs, in spring 2017, but my love for sewing and design sparked at a very young age as I saw all the beautiful creations my grandmother made. I received my first sewing machine at the age of 12, and immediately knew that I wanted to pursue her a career in the fashion industry.

MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?

Allison Berger: I learned the business of fashion through working alongside other successful apparel design businesses, as well as earning my degree in Apparel and Merchandising/ Apparel Design and Production from Colorado State University.

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MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

Allison Berger: I find inspiration from everywhere and everything, especially from nature.

MM: Can you describe your creative process?

Allison Berger: My creative process is about transferring my ideas to paper and then actually constructing the piece. Most of my creative process starts with the intricate fabrics. From there, they transform into beautiful delicate pieces, with lots of love along the way.

MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?

Allison Berger: My favourite part of being a designer is having the opportunity to create something beautiful. I love seeing the finished product and also seeing the feeling the clients get when they wear my pieces. You also work with alterations, how does this process work?

Allison Berger: We believe that your clothes should fit you perfectly, especially because no one is built exactly the same. We have the client come in, and we have at least one fitting with them. At the fitting(s) we pin and mark where things need to be altered. We have as many fittings as needed to make sure the fit is perfect. For clients who can't come into the studio, we work with them to find the best option.
MM: Can you describe the design identity being based in Maryland? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?

Allison Berger: I am currently working as a designer in Denver, Colorado. The culture and surroundings have absolutely affected my design aesthetic. The people here and the vibes seem very chill and down to earth. Not to mention, I am surrounded by beautiful scenery including the mountains, the beautiful rolling plains, and fields of flowers.

MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W18 collection?

Allison Berger: This collection was inspired by the female form. We used soft, flowing silks and satins that gently caress and accentuate the body, and adorned each garment with our signature, intricate florals. The muted off-white, blush, pink, and nude palette hints at nature, while complementing free-flowing silhouettes enhanced with delicate lace, embroidery, embellishments and tulle tiers.

Thank you Allison for your in-depth insights into your design work. We are looking forward to seeing your new collection on the Vancouver Fashion Week runway next week!




We talk inspiration, design identity, and FABRICS with U.S DESIGNER Barbara Riordan ahead of her Vancouver Fashion Week showcase.


MM: Can you explain your brand and yourself in a few sentences?

Riordan: I am Pariah, everything I create is something I want to wear. I have always had a strong fashion aesthetic. I've had friends tell me they couldn't wait to see what I was going to wear, even just at everyday get-togethers. I wasn't 'trying', I was just wearing my clothes. Pariah is an insiders brand, for the woman who chooses a unique fashion voice. Each piece is limited edition.

MM: What sparked your interest in fashion?

Riordan: I have always been interested in fashion. I've been making my own clothes since I was 6 years old so I was never bound by what was available in stores, I created my own looks.  I feel that a fashion sense is really something a person is born with. 

MM: Your work is very experimental. Are you always investigating something when you create?

Riordan: I have two methods in my creative process. If I am going on a trip or have an event to attend, I start coming up with ideas of what I would want to wear. How am I going to stand out?  If I am going to a formal event where I think others will be wearing black, I will make a pink floral gown. The other method for creating is when I go to the textile shows. Fabrics with colour, print or texture attract me. The fabric tells me what it wants to be; a skirt, a blouse. The fabric speaks to me.

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MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?

Riordan: A lot of my inspiration comes from the decades I have experienced.  A pop of colour that reminds me of the 60's. A neckline that I wore in the 70's. I'm not reinventing the wheel but I am trying to make it more interesting, more fun. Let's face it, a woman's body hasn't changed from its basic form since Eve. A waist, a bustline, hips. I want to flatter the female body, accentuate the waist, revel in the femaleness.

MM: Here at MM we are very interested in design identity as we talk to designers from all over the world. How has the U.S design scene influenced you? Can you see any cultural influences being based in Indianapolis?

Riordan: I think being based in Indianapolis in the midwest, has allowed my love of outerwear to grow. We have weather of all extremes here. My statement trench coats give women a way to show their personality even on gloomy days. She can walk down the street wearing a Pariah limited edition trench and she can show her strength, her uniqueness. I'm sure the people of Vancouver can appreciate a great trench coat! 

MM: Where do you source your fabrics?

Riordan: I source my fabrics at textile shows. I go to the big ones in NYC. I have a couple of fabric reps in Chicago I use as well.

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MM: Have you found beauty in unexpected places/situations?

Riordan: I like surprises. In some of my creations, there is a reveal, as you will see. From a distance a skirt or a coat may look like a colourful print, but on closer inspection, it's got chickens on it or the design is comprised of insects.

MM: Can you explain the inspiration behind the F/W18 collection you will be showing at VFW in March?

Riordan: My inspiration for F/W18 is just more of what I want to wear! I want one of each item in my own closet. 

Thank you for giving us an insight into your creative design practises. Catch Pariah's showcase at Vancouver Fashion Week next month.