It’s time to meet the face behind 16th Colony. I had the chance to visit Renee’s studio and see where her talent and creativity come to life in her unique handmade pieces.
-Tell me a little about you.
I was born and raised in West Des Moines, Iowa until my freshman year of high school when my dad was transferred for work and my parents and I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. As a kid, I would spend a lot of time drawing – originally I thought I wanted to be a cartoonist. My interests were always art related – painting, photography, pottery, etc.
– You made the choice to leave home and go to FIDM to chase your dream … How was that?
I was about 13 when I designed my first garment and that’s when I started considering Fashion Design. After interning for a local Scottsdale fashion designer at 18, I began looking into Fashion schools. I quickly realized that FIDM was one of the best and I knew I had to get out to California. The choice to leave home and go after my dream was surprisingly easy, I was all about the adventure and super determined.
– What were your fashion inspiration’s and who are your fashion idols?
I don’t necessarily have any fashion idols. In fact, even as I was growing up and in college I was never obsessed with big name designers. As for inspiration, I really just appreciate unique finds, funky photography, music and my life experiences as inspiration to create a mood for my collections.
– How did 16th Colony come about and how did you come up with the name
A few Summer’s ago, I was freelance designing as well as running my style site HangerShortage.com and I would always gravitate toward wearing an old poncho that I had with a pair of cut-off shorts and booties. I realized that I felt very artsy and mysterious in the outfit. I always knew I wanted to have a clothing line and it hit me that this was exactly how I wanted my future customers to feel when wearing one of my designs. So 16th Colony started out as a brand that only carried ponchos and has since then grown and I’ve been able to start introducing other types of pieces as well. The name really just came to me one day when I was thinking about the fact that there are so many awesome girls that believe in and support independent brands. Then the word Colony came to mind because it’s like a group of girls that truly ‘get it’. And the ’16th’ is my birth date.
– Tell us about this years fall/winter line
16th Colony’s Mystic Spirit collection is derived from a calm yet radiant energy. It’s about the power of mystery and expressing individuality. The vision was really about a strong sense of self. And the fabrics and trims are bold in design yet super soft to the touch.
– Favorite piece
I’m pretty sure this is the hardest question for a designer. Obviously, it’s very mood dependent but lately I’ve been pulling on the Rumours Crop a lot. It’s made with a fine velvet burnout fabric and cropped with side slits giving it some poncho elements. The extreme bell sleeve and fringe makes it super fun.
Join the colony and follow along!