MAKER: BRITTANY ALLEN
Whether you're looking for a custom piece or you just love supporting Austin's ready-to-wear designers, this week's maker is a true local talent!
While at the University of Arkansas, Brittany explored pattern-making, graphic design associated with fashion, and began designing with a main focus on women’s wear. During her senior year at Arkansas, she was offered a domestic production internship at Betsey Johnson NYC. (Sounds like a dream internship, right?!) After the internship was completed, Brittany began pursuing her masters of fine arts, focusing on fashion design at the Savannah College of Art and Design and graduated September of 2013.
How did Brittany's journey lead to our beloved ATX? Find out by reading the interview below!
WHO DO YOU FOLLOW FOR INSTAGRAM INSPIRATION
Main inspo is Rihanna. But I follow so many pages that I feel like my Instagram feed is just constant inspiration.
FAVORITE LOCAL FOOD TRUCK
I love the Chi’lantro food truck better than the actual restaurants. I could eat their spicy pork tacos every day.
FAVORITE LOCAL CURATED BOUTIQUE
I love PRIZE downtown. Lisa is brilliant- they have the best stuff. I honestly get jewelry envy going in there.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING MOMENT SO FAR OF YOUR CRAFT
There have been a few. Lady Gaga wore a jacket I freelance designed for a company. Bon Jovi and Jewel have worn boots I designed for a company I used to work for. Also had my designs featured in WWD & Footwear News. I just got asked to show at NYFW so that is my latest shocking moment. Still haven’t gotten over it.
AS A SMALL BUSINESS, HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOUR BRAND STANDS OUT
Im just true to my aesthetic. I have learned to stop socially comparing. I can’t say “my designs don’t look like hers or they don’t look as good as Balmain & Givenchy.” I am doing my own thing. I am a very girly-girl, and I have to reflect who I am in my designs. Either you like them or you don’t, but at least I am being genuine and loyal to who I am as a designer.
WHAT OTHER ARTISTS HAVE YOU LOVED COLLABORATING WITH
I haven’t done much with other designers. For Austin Fashion Week, I collaborated with King and Rose Optical. They provided me with some sick shades and specs for my models to wear. They were fire! Made the show really come together. I’ll never shop for glasses anywhere else!
HOW IMPORTANT IS SHOPPING LOCAL TO YOU
Very. I love local boutiques and designers. I love to get one-of-a-kind pieces and support the people in the area that are living out their dreams. Don’t get my wrong though- I would love to land a big account and for my designer friends that are signing with Neiman’s and Nordstrom’s, I’m equally as stoked for them too.
MUST-SEE RECOMMENDATION FOR THOSE TRAVELING TO AUSTIN
Corny, but drive north on South Congress. Go to the shops, then drive across the bridge and take in the most beautiful downtown city view ever. It’s most gorgeous at night. I’m not outdoorsy, so don’t expect me to give recommendations on the water holes and the park.
WHY DO YOU CALL AUSTIN HOME?
My husband got a State Farm agency in the summer of 2015 here in Austin, so we decided to move here. Gotta admit, I fought him on the move. I had a wonderful job and was lead designer for several shoe brands in Arkansas. But I am SO glad we moved here. It’s the best city in the entire world. We have traveled all over, but there is no place like Austin. So much local love.
FAVORITE SONG/ARTIST/ALBUM FOR A SPARK OF CREATIVITY
Rihanna. All day. Every day.
BIGGEST DEBATE OF ALL: COFFEE or TEA, BE SPECIFIC ;)
Coffee. I drink it with a purpose. Gotta get up and moving. Skinny vanilla latte is my jam.
GO TO MID-DAY SNACK or ROUTINE FOR CREATIVE FUEL
Red wine & Hot Tamales [candy].
WHERE DO YOU CREATE BEST? EX: HOME, STUDIO, NATURE, ETC.
Half and half. I love working in my studio at home. Also, I teach at the Art Institute of Austin, and I will take my stuff into the lab. The students and I bounce off each other creatively.
WHY DID YOU CHOSE TO BE A MAKER
I didn’t get into fashion until my first year of college and it was by accident. I was originally going to school to be a nurse. When I failed Anatomy, my counselor and I thought it would be a better idea to seek out a major that was more creative. I loved to sew and I did love fashion, so it all worked out. But I now LOVE to design. I can’t imagine not being in a creative situation constantly.
WHO HAS HAD THE MOST CREATIVE INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE
My entire family- they are all so supportive of me and love that I pursued my passion. My husband always pushes me to be my better self. He is an innovator so he always helps me seek out the next big thing.
HOW HAS SOCIAL HELPED YOUR BUSINESS, IF ANY
Social has been how I got to where I am today. I showed at Austin Fashion Week, and since I started my brand’s Insta, all these other big cities have come across my work and invited me to show elsewhere! I’ve already scheduled Dallas, Houston, Portland, and New York. It’s insane how social media works.
HOW HAS THE AUSTIN COMMUNITY SUPPORTED YOU
It’s been crazy. Everyone is so supportive. I have gotten to know so many people being involved in the Austin fashion community, and everyone wants to introduce me to more people and help pave the way for me. I’ve never met more accommodating and generous people in my life. Special shout out to Matt Swinney and Kylie Bollwitt for believing in me and wanting me to join in on their Fashion X journey around Texas.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOUR DESIGNS
I hand make everything myself. I sketch designs, drape designs, do all the garment patterns myself, sew myself, fabric source myself, and I embroider myself. Everything I do and you see on the runway is on my own. Now, when I manufacture, a factory will take over, but I am saving money and staying true to my vision by doing the foundation work for each design by myself.
WHERE CAN SUPPORTERS FIND YOUR CREATIONS
Follow me on Instagram first: @brittanynicole.atx ! I make custom garments and have for the past 5 years. But now that I am getting more into collections and pursuing the fashion scene as my own brand. I want to manufacture, get into local boutiques, maybe some department stores, and hopefully have my own store front right here in the heart of Austin, TX.
Visit brittany-nicole.com to see more of Brittany's collection designs.