Colleen Quen, fashion designer
July 10th, 2009
En exclusive interview of Barbara Kapelj Osredkar with Colleen Quen, a fashion designer from
on September 2008. The interview was published in the Slovene edition of City Magazine in the fall of 2008. San Francisco
© Barbara Kapelj Osredkar, all rights reserved
© Photos Colleen Quen, all rights reserved
Barbara Kapelj Osredkar: On the beginning it was your mother, a designer herself, who had a great impact on your interest in art and clothes making? What kind of memories do you have from your childhood about the clothes, fabrics?
Colleen Quen: Yes, my mother is my first designer teacher…she planted the seed of encouragement as I developed into being a designer. She taught me to create my own style…through shopping with me to select the fabrics I wanted for my handmade dresses. She made all my dresses. I developed In time a color and fabric sense, silhouettes that I liked….it was so much Fun to work with her. It didn’t seem like work…it was just being creative. I treasure this experience in my life with her.
BKO: Did you play a lot with dresses and dolls when you were a child? Or did you enjoy drawing dresses, princesses?
CQ: I had barbies galore…and my mom would make the Barbie clothes for all my dolls…so I would also dress them, style them…again it was a natural process for me….the creative process of design was already presented to me, through my mother’s support and her creative environment she gave me when I was young.
BKO: What kind of dresses did you like to wear and what dresses, clothes do you like to wear now?
CQ: I loved wearing fabric with prints….prints that were bold and colorful. Possibly because I grew up during the 70’s—pop art time…but the expression of color spoke to me….I needed to have my fabrics either graphically bold or the fabric was textured in some form….the fabric had to be unusual. The silhoutette of the dress was a simple cut…and very feminine…I would love
To wear my dresses with a purse, the right shoes and gloves….very 1950’s… I never liked wearing pants very much, Dresses were my favorite way of dressing.
BKO: Did you dream as a child to wear a dress that you are designing now? What kind of icons did you have as a child, teenager?
CQ: When I was young, I lived in the moment…not ever thinking I would be a fashion designer…it was just a fun creative project. I realized when this was something I really would love to do for the future…is when I was in college finishing my final exams for a computer science program I was creating. I realized then and there…that my path in life is to create clothes… Not computer programs—I need to work with the human body…and need to work with people….I loved creating shapes and beautiful dresses on me
And on others. This was my awakening!!!
BKO: Which are the projects – dresses that you think make your work stand out?
CQ: When I can create freely…my Papillion Butterfly gown- of 100 origami butterflies and also the Mermaid Gown—which was inspired by Calatrava Santiago A rchitect. This represents my feminine style and architectural cut. With a mix of my colors….
BKO: Your dresses remind me of Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzales, Marie Bracquemond (the exhibition of Woman impressionists) paintings. They are representing something very romantic, very feminine, with a lot of nostalgia of old – world couture. Who among interior designers, architects or artist past or present have most influenced your design work?
CQ: Thank you for your compliment on Impressionists Painters…I’m honored if you think my work is like this… Passionate architects and painters and sculptors inspire me….like IM Pei, Santiago Calatrava, Monet, Van Gogh, Rodin, Degas.. Also my travels last year was truly an inspiration…I explored the fashion of the minority ethnic groups in China- Miao and Buyi villages….
BKO: How about among fashion designers?
CQ: Among Fashion Designers I love Christian Lacroix….he stirs something magical in me.
BKO: Do you see any good new, young fashion designers in
? San Francisco
CQ: I do see potentially some amazing designers in
…they are coming out of graduating from the fashion schools here. Not one specific…but I do see their potential…if only they could stay here and create a business here. San Francisco
CQ: I think the people in
are very individualistic…unique and bohemian. They are not into trend. They like to create their own style. San Francisco
BKO: You were working so hard in the fashion industry (Eileen West, Wilkes Bashford, Bugi Bugi, Brian Fedorow, Karen Alexander, Sue Siegel, and the Gap) for ten years – what do you most remember about these years?
CQ: I remembered to be humble, that this is a business and it’s important to work as a team—Every action you take has meaning and purpose to the companies growth as well it can apply to my future growth in my own business.
et j'arrête là car bien entendu ce qui est beau, ce sont les photos de ces lady-butterfly ?